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Now that you've done some prep work and have looked at some examples, it's time to write your essay. Following the

APA formatting guidelines as described in the APA Style Guide, 6th edition, set up paper defaults and create a cover sheet. You will double-space this essay, as you will all your work going forward unless directed otherwise. You will not cite external sources in this personal essay, so you will not have a References page. You will also not be required to write an abstract for this project.

I'd like to know what you value and what's important to you about your profession, your industry, your career, or your education. This is challenging! It requires a level of introspection so deep that no one else can do it for you. Use the following suggestions, adapted from This I Believe, as a guide:

  • Name your belief—If you can't name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. You are writing an essay, not a list. Focus on one core belief, which you will explain, define, and develop through the essay.
  • Tell a story—Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in specific events of your life. Consider moments when your belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and life, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your professional or educational philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs. Tell me how you reached your beliefs, and if they have grown, what made them grow. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real.
  • Be positive—Avoid preaching, editorializing, or finger-pointing. This essay should not be about your views on the American way of life, democracy, or capitalism. (These are important but for another occasion.) This essay should explain what you live by: what you do believe, not what you don't believe.
  • Be personal—Avoid speaking in the editorial "we," the projecting "you," or the accusing "they." The project is "this I believe," not "this everyone believes," "this my company believes," or "this Americans/Russians/Scientologists believe." Make your essay about you. Speak in the first person. Read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time, edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief.

In a 500-word essay, write a statement of personal and professional belief. Answer the questions: "What motivates you. What's your professional passion? What do you believe?"

When you are satisfied with your essay, continue to the next step to submit.

References

"This I Believe Essay-Writing Guidelines," Copyright ©2005-2015 by This I Believe, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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